Thanksgiving at the beach was a good, good idea!
My mother-in-law suggested it a couple of months ago, and you didn’t have to twist any of our arms too hard to get on down there! My in-laws rented a neat little house on the bay side, and the two of them, our family of five, three dogs, and Jamie’s grandmother (our beloved Mamaw!) enjoyed a too-fast vacation together from Wednesday to Sunday.
THANKSGIVING IN GULF SHORES – WEDNESDAY
We couldn’t get into the house until 3 p.m., so we didn’t leave super early like we usually do. It was only a 350 mile drive, so we left around 7:30 a.m. We were quickly reminded why we usually leave at 4 a.m. when the girls are sleepy (or more quiet) when Sadie started whining and asking if we were there yet 30 minutes into the trip. It felt like a long drive down between Jillian fussing, Sadie talking nonstop, and Teddy panting anxiously around the car (Hadley was the only kid who got a gold star…), but we made it and bolted for the beach quick!
I had actually made a Walmart grocery pick-up order a few days before the trip, so we picked that up on the way into Gulf Shores and then unloaded the groceries and our luggage at the beach house. We found an unopened bottle of peach premade margarita in the fridge, so Jamie was super cute and made me a fancy little cocktail after we unpacked. 🙂
My in-laws weren’t scheduled to arrive until dinnertime, so we headed out to the beach “just for a minute” while we waited for them. Hadley was down in the sand playing instantly!
We had to document Jillian’s first dip in the ocean just like we did with Hadley in 2014 in San Diego (we missed snappin’ away during Sadie’s first beach trip, but here’s a pic of her snoozin’ on the beach with my niece Carly when Sadie was 3.5 months old!)
Since the water was cold (but honestly not nearly as cold as I expected), she let out a pretty good fuss. 😉
Like any good mom would do, I laughed while she cried. 😉
As for these big kids, the cold water didn’t bother them a bit. They threw themselves right in, and we didn’t stop them. We just figured we’d change clothes back at the house. They were having a ball!
We met the sweetest family from Orlando that we struck up conversation with for a bit who grabbed my phone and said to pose for a family picture. I love people like this. 😉
We stayed until sunset (so much for our “quick” trip to put our toes in the sand – lol) and then headed back to see my in-laws.
Had to get this stereotypical “baby on the beach” shot first though, just like I did with Hadley as a babe. 🙂
Our Thanksgiving morning was slow, which was so nice. We all sipped coffee and watched TV while the girls played in the sunroom with the small suitcase of toys I let them fill up before we left our house.
Once we got bored watching the parade, we took a stroll on the beach. Such a beautiful day, and way more people than I expected.
We ate Thanksgiving lunch at The Hangout, which I would highly, highly recommend! The buffet was fresh and delicious and just phenomenal. Sadie’s favorite part was seeing her sweet teacher, Ms. Robynn! We put two-and-two together a few days prior that we would be at the restaurant at the same time (poor lady can’t even get away from her students on vacation, LOL!) and Sadie smiled so big when we spotted her!
The lighting is obviously wonky, but it’s hard not to be super happy when you’re enjoying a Thanksgiving feast with a view like this!
The big meal made us all a bit sluggish the rest of the day, so we immensely enjoyed a quiet evening at the beach house. Jillian loved swinging with Mamaw throughout our trip. This site was the sweetest.
The house had a kayak, which I loved taking each of the girls out on with me. So fun!!
Hadley asked Jamie to bring his fishing pole, and he really enjoyed going out back on our dock to finish with the girls.
We’re on year #4 for busting out the Christmas jammies Thanksgiving night! Waking up to this image of my girls all matching and playing in bed makes my heart leap! (Big thanks to my precious friend Bethy for gifting these to us during her visit to Alabama in September.)
Jamie and I took advantage of the extra set of hands willing to assist with our girls and took a long walk on the beach Friday morning just the two of us. SO NICE.
Around lunchtime we headed to The Track and loaded up with tons of credits for go karts, kiddie rides, and arcade games galore. The crowds were super light throughout Gulf Shores during our trip, but the weather was phenomenal, so we enjoyed all of the things we would normally do at the beach, but with much fewer people. It was awesome.
I left Jillian’s hats back at the beach house, so a spare onesie came in handy to protect her little head from the sun. (I burn so, so easily, so I am always super paranoid about my girls burning as quickly as I do.)
That night, we headed out to the beach about 45 minutes before the sun went down to take advantage of the golden hour and snap some Christmas card photos.
After a quick 15-minute picture session on the beach, we were ready to fill our bellies at Lambert’s! Jillian was a total mess at dinner and way overtired, but the food was good and the atmosphere a good time as usual.
Though we’d all considered the forecast when packing for and planning this trip, none of us expected the weather to be true “beach day” weather. Sure enough, Saturday was our day to sun our buns and have a good time in the sand!
Sunshine & Glitter recently gifted us these glittery sunscreens to try, and not only did they keep us from getting red, but the girls and I loved the glitter! As a mom of all girls, I have a feeling that this brand of sunscreen will the favorite in our house. It was a hit, even with me! I liked it a lot. Way more fun to apply too than goopy white lotion.
PS: This sunscreen is Reef Safe and biodegradable! Whoop whoop! Everything is also made in the USA and contains lots of “good for ya” things, like aloe and green tea extract. I smell STOCKING STUFFERS!!!
When it comes to being around water, I helicopter-parent the heck out of my kids – no shame. Hadley especially is a phenomenal swimmer, but the waves were EXTRA rough during our trip, so we left life jackets on them incase they got out of our site and went deeper in the ocean than they were supposed to (or in case a wave took them down). They didn’t complain about the jackets one single time though and had a ball playing up a storm.
I didn’t bring a swimsuit from home because I had no clue it would actually be warm enough to lay out on the sand (I thought shorts and a tank would suffice as I watched my kids play!), and shopping on Friday for a swimsuit was a bust (not many in stock this time of year). Jamie’s grandmother had a nearly brand new one though that she encouraged me to try on, and sure enough, it fit like a glove. HA! I guess I have a new family member to share closets with during vacations. 😉
We hung on the beach playing and eating lunch until around 1 and then packed it up. While the girls napped and the rest of the family settled in to watch the Iron Bowl (Alabama vs. Auburn football), I took advantage of some solo time and headed back to the beach. I sat as close to the ocean as I could, relaxed, and then eventually got up and took a speedy 45 minute walk. It was phenomenal re-charge time.
Do you remember in a blog post last month where I shared about receiving this “sand free” towel from Tesalate! Obviously I couldn’t wait to try it out because what does sand-free even mean when it comes to the beach? Sure enough, this towel brushes off QUICKLY. It’s such a neat material, and with one shake it’s completely sand-free. Highly recommend for frequent beach goers!
The memory on the left popped up on Facebook while we were on the beach, so I had to be a big ole dork and get Hadley to quickly replicate it. 😉 TIME FLIES! Four years makes a big, big difference.
That night, we packed up, watched more football, and quietly watched Mamaw teach Hadley to tie her own shoes. Ugh, my heart. She is in her mid-eighties and is just as active and involved as they come.
We rolled out of the beach house by 4:30 a.m. Sunday. We wanted the girls to sleep as much as they could in the car, we wanted to beat Thanksgiving traffic, and finally I wanted to get home in time to visit a doc in a box. I woke up Saturday feeling a little achy and congested, and was out the door by 7 a.m. that day to get Mucinex because I knew I had no time to have a serious cold.
I went to a walk-in clinic when they opened at 1 p.m., thinking I probably just had a serious sinus infection and would get a shot in the tush, so you can imagine my shock when the doc walked in say I was flu positive. I’d never had the flu before, but I guess it was my party favor from the beach? INFLUENZA A FOR YOU, DESPAIN FAM!
About 30 hours later, both Hadley and Jillian spiked high fevers, beginning our solid week of being down and out with the sickness. It was hard coming off of a great vacation to being so sick, but we survived it and are back on our feet this week (hence why this recap post is almost two weeks late, ha!)
Have you ever gone on vacation for Thanksgiving?
Have you ever gone out to eat on Thanksgiving? What was the circumstance, if any?
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo